Review: UNA NOCHE BUENA - ZACH Theatre Presents A Holiday Treat For The Whole Family

The production ran from December 1st through 15th.

By: Dec. 17, 2023
Review: UNA NOCHE BUENA - ZACH Theatre Presents A Holiday Treat For The Whole Family
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As an Austin native, it’s incredible to see the birth of a new hometown tradition. UNA NOCHE BUENA at ZACH Theatre is my new holiday favorite and I promise that it will be yours too. Mark my words, this show will become an annual event for everyone to see. It’s rare indeed to see a new holiday family musical that scores so highly in all-around entertainment. In a sea of Dickens, this play has what it takes to be a Christmas must-see.  

Beautifully written by Jesùs I. Valles (their solo play (UN)DOCUMENTS took the Austin theatre scene by storm in 2018) the tale has heart, humor, and an inclusive message of love that we should all take care to hear. The story focuses on Omar (Michael Galvan), a foster kid who is looking for a family to call his own. UNA NOCHE BUENA, Christmas Eve in English, is a new tradition for Omar and the play gently guides the audience through the Latin American tradition of Las Posadas (the inns). This beautiful holiday tradition calls for celebrants to be turned away from houses every night from December 16th until December 24th when they are finally invited into a home where they are rewarded for their persistence with a party. This festive occasion follows the journey of the holy family looking for room at an inn so that Mary can be sheltered giving birth to Jesus. Merged with young Omar’s own foster care journey, the production introduces us to an iconic tradition in such a beautiful, heartwarming, and hilarious way. 

With only three actors playing all the roles they must be fantastic at their craft and this cast is beyond stellar. Michael Galvan as Omar is truly engaging. It’s difficult for adults to play children without overplaying but Galvan strikes the perfect balance by giving his character depth, warmth, and wonder. Kennedy Thompson, playing various roles is fantastic as she jumps from role to role so easily, it seems like there are twice as many actors on stage. Doubling as the composer, lyricist, and actor in UNA NOCHE BUENA is the ever-dazzling Paul Sanchez. I’ve seen him in many shows and I have always been impressed by his magnetic presence on stage. I'm a true fan of his work. He never fails to touch the heart and his amazing singing lingers in your head. Sanchez’s prodigious musical talent is on full display for everyone to see. Directors Nat Miller and Michelle Gomez handle this overabundance of talent with aplomb by making the most of the comedic moments by tempering them with an open-hearted love that is infectious. 

If you have a chance to experience UNA NOCHE BUENA with your family, I urge you to do so, if you don’t have children, I urge you to go as well. While the production is probably not in its final form, it’s amazing just as it is. I fervently hope the show becomes an Austin holiday tradition. 


by Jesùs I. Valles 

Music and lyrics by Paul Sanchez

ZACH Theatre, Topfer Stage

December 1 - 15

Recommend for ages 5+

Tickets: $14 - $31